Mobile is the new PC, says Epic

GDC Europe 2012: Mobile "starting to compete with current consoles," next-generation chips will be 20 times as powerful.

by

The power of mobile GPUs and the complexity of developing for them are rapidly approaching that of consoles and some PCs, according to Niklas Smedberg of Epic Games. Speaking during a keynote presentation at GDC Europe, the developer said that mobile was "starting to compete with current consoles," but in doing so development has become much more complex.

"We are Epic, we never do the minimum."

Smedberg compared the process of mobile development to that of PCs, where there are hundreds of different platforms to develop for, each with their own hardware. "We have to scale things--we are Epic, we never do the minimum, so we have to scale for high to low devices." He went on to claim that mobile games will soon have graphics options similar to that of PCs, with low, medium, and high for different effects, as well as resolution settings.

Citing the example of God Rays, a lighting effect used heavily in Gear of War 3 and Infinity Blade II, Smedberg said that the mobile version of the effect actually "ended up looking better" than on the 360. "In some regards, mobile is way better than console. There's way more memory, which allows for much higher texture resolutions."

Looking to the future, Smedberg claimed that the next generation of mobile GPUs will be up to 20 times more powerful. He cited product roadmaps from IMGTec and Nvidia as examples and assured the audience that such steep rises in GPU power would be put to good use. "On console we were doing 720p," he said. "On iPad we're doing crazy resolutions."

Discussion

0 comments
depman1972
depman1972

I'd rather play games the way they should be on a decent tv, not a silly little small screen, squint your eyes time.

TERMINATOR-SSD
TERMINATOR-SSD

the day i see Crysis 1 on a smart phone running in ultra and running 60fps Is the day i will stop laughing at crazy claims [-D 

Gamelander
Gamelander

Why do such companies go out and say such ridiculous things, as if they have a special magic 8-ball that can foresee the future of the gaming industry? Not to mention that most core gamers don't look to mobile gaming as an actual full gaming experience; who will want to sit and play on a touchpad for hours when you can do so a PC or consoles? Last point, core gamers usually favor handheld systems, such as the DS/3DS or PSP/PS Vita over a mobile device; I'm not trying to say that mobile gaming is bad, it's not, but it isn't ideal for the type of games a core gamer would like to play on the go or when not using a PC or console.

Cruisemissile
Cruisemissile

Im not going to buy a £1000 mobile to play games on a small screen! now shut up! 

 

Also PC will always be way more powerful, Stable and cooler than their small powerful unstable and Hot next gen chips!

DrHyde
DrHyde

I'm still trying to figure out how mobile is going to eclipse PC or consoles. I enjoy a good mobile game here and there like most people with a smartphone, but the article doesn't address the same problem that plagued PC (and to a lesser extent this generation of consoles): heat. 

 

Heat is the destroyer of CPUs. PCs have heat sinks, fans, and water cooling to compensate for this, what do mobile phones have? Seriously, this is a major issue that's going to have to be overcome before mobile can overtake PC (or even consoles). Heat will not only kill the CPUs and GPUs in the phones, but also the battery, a technology which has advanced very little in the last 10 years. My phone can get as high as 140F playing a high end mobile game. There will have to be some major advancements in heat control and battery technology before I believe this article.

scraping101
scraping101

I don't understand all the anger toward Apple and mobile devices on gamespot. If anything, the growth of the mobile scene is helping the consumer. Tablets are awesome! But they will never replace my ps3 for hardcore games. They aren't even taking my hardcore gaming business or any console's business. They are capitalizing on the sale of games that never would have been sold on consoles. No hardcore gamer buys a tablet for gaming, hardcore gamers like me buy tablets for occasional on the road gaming, web browsing, watching videos, Facebook and business. Tablet sales are canniblizing handheld devices, yes. But they arent hurting consoles. Tablets are selling to a completely new demographic. Do any of you know a hardcore gamer who chose not to buy one of their favorite AAA games over angey birds or infinity blade? Hell, no! If you own a tablet and a console, you probably buy both! My favorite pastime is still curling up on the couch to play skyrim, dark souls or uncharted. What the article is saying is that tablets will continue to increase their power in the coming years. That's kind of a "no, duh." Six years ago do remember how amazed you were the first time you saw an iPhone commercial? 7 years ago you wouldn't have thought that technology was possible. Right now I'm amazed that my iPad 3 has 10 times the power of the PC my dad bought in '95 for $3,000. I think it's awesome that tablets are quadrupling their power every year. It's already causing Xbox and ps3 to think outside the box with their pricing structure for the next gen and also helping them realize that they can't wait 6 years to refresh their hardware. Console makers don't need to worry about tablets taking over their industry. They need to worry if a company with a ton of cash (like apple) enters the console business. A company like that could figure out how to sell quality console for 300-500, and refresh it ever year. This is good for gamers-I promise! The hardcore controller games played on a 50 inch TV are not going away. The specs are going to keep improving and within the next few years we will see more frequent hardware refreshing. The only change might be who the dominant makers of home consoles are. (however, I

itchyflop
itchyflop

and iv gotta ask..."why arn't the console developers making higher res screen capability  ??" surely that's one of the next steps, higher detail ?? or are they talking about now with regard to the ps3 etc... as iv said (now iv read the article !!) if the chips are going to be that good, bring it ill buy one...i won't hold my breathe though. I agree the handful of games that are good for tablets are good but touch controlled or tilt. a mobile controller is to be developed that can fit in you pocket.

itchyflop
itchyflop

when the new flexi screen using flat transistors arrives maybe the title will have some truth. Then you can have a phone and a pull out color screen. I agree in some respects the new Microsoft tablet looks promising but will it have the power of some high end towers. You have to spend quite a bit for a gaming laptop to perform as well. Some of the alien-ware (beautiful machines) are horrendously priced, and i think in terms of mobile gaming that's the closest you ll get...to date. The vita was suppose to be awesome. look how that turned out, and i fkg bought one. :)

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Bit of a misleading title...

Not really much use developing for multiple mobile devices, phones are rubbish for games with such tiny screens and lets face it "Ipad" or "cheap samsung ipad copyright infringement" are the only ones they'll sell pleanty of copys on.

Once they get up to the same standard of PC's the dev cost will go through the roof and who buys expensive games on the app store?

staranise
staranise

*looks at topic

 

here`s my answer:

 

¯\(ºдಠ)/¯

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Smartphones are used by stupid people..^^

DaClatso
DaClatso

PC has their own advantage. you buy a PC & you keep for the next 2- 5 years. doing vastly stuffs on the PC. Smartphone are introduce monthly with upgrade yearly from broken replacement, lost or better phone. The only time you see me using my smartphone is either on the road, travel or places i don't have access to my PC. But when i m at home gaming or at work. it's always be the PC....

DaClatso
DaClatso

You can't call yourself a hardcore gamer when playing on mobile!!! Hails nooo!!!

Destrond
Destrond

Lets make this simple being everyone and their mother is saying everyone else is dying to something stupid.

 

PC: Viable as better than consoles because better graphics, better developer support due to almost no middle man, responsive controls that can be varied, and has tons of extra features. Also games are much much cheaper.

Open Source For Developers

 

Ouya: Better than consoles because its open to developers, has no middle man, controls are designed around gaming, Games must be free in some format, and very little percantage of the actual price to be payed goes to the makers of Ouya.

Open Source For Developers

 

Mobile: Hits a huge audience of those who would not usually play games, has many varied controls due to touch capability allowing new ideas in gaming, prices are low and are almost pure profit, many free games that generate ad revenue, very interactive with other people the players know.

Open Source For Developers

 

 

Current Consoles: High Prices, Unsupported Motion Controls, Repetitive Games, Restricted Developer Support, Restrictions on "Free" Content, Glorified Media Hubs, Decent UIs, 

Not Open Source For Developers

 

 

Overall, the biggest thing is the Open Source. Give those developers the power to create, and you have amazing games such as Dungeon Defenders, Team Fortress 2, League of Legends, and even Angry Birds. The main reason these games appeal so heavily outside of consoles is because those developers can release a game that may have some problems or game breaking glitches, and they can fix them to deliver the experience intended without having to wait 2 weeks and $40k later. 

 

Consoles have no appeal anymore because of corporate greed. I honestly don't see myself buying into the next gen because my computer can do everything consoles can do for about 75% less in price.

Hector_01
Hector_01

Oh and sorry for double posting but tablets will always have the problem of dedicated touch screen controls which  well.........suck.  Some games they are ok but full on fps, rts, sport and so on, dont work to well in my opinion.  I have a Motorola Xoom and its great for browsing and watching shows when your not at the pc but for gaming, no way

 

Hector_01
Hector_01

After reading the article and being a very dedicated pc gamer, one has to wonder how in the hell will a tablet pc get 20 times more power in the future when unfortunately they will be faced with the same problem pc's have and thats having enough power to actually run that sort of grunt.  Now i know the mobile gpus are far more efficient but to be able to handle crazy graphics like they are claiming, the battery life could very well be hindered.  It becomes less 'mobile' when you are forced to constantly have it plugged in lol.  Im no expert and i'm not a hater, i just think that when you get to a certain amount of power the real issue is being able to keep it cool enough and have a sufficient amount of power to keep it going.  I feel like im rambling lol but i hope you guys know what i mean

 

EzcapeTheFate
EzcapeTheFate

PC is done. Ipad is the future. Better graphix and controls than a high end PC but with all the mobility of a cell phone.

dgallo911
dgallo911

The only games i play on my phone (Galaxy S2) now are the emulated ones from gameboy, N64, sega mega drive and playstation 1 simply becuase they are actually REAL games unlike 99% of the ones on the market. All these iphone/android games (apps) are only so big at the moment because they are new ,not because they are good. Like the acticle above mentioned, development is getting more expensive  with each passing day and it wont be long until only big publishers are able to produce anything for the platform and due to tablets/phones having an incredibly short life span compared to pc's/consoles Indie developers are going to really struggle to not only keep up with the current tech but also compete with the big boys who have only just started releasing AAA titles. With consoles (and pc's) we can already see the beginning on VR gaming and there is no doubt in my mind thats where the gaming industry is heading (at least where AAA titles are concerned) and im guessing thats why the next gen consoles are still in developement (even the Wii U is attempting it by using its tabet as a 2nd screen). Mobile gaming is little more than a "flavour of the month", its new, its exciting and its cheap but ultimatly there isnt much substance to 99% of it and people (particularly gamers) will wake up to it sooner rather than later.

xdude85
xdude85

The like the big screen better Epic.

Sturmfuehrer_
Sturmfuehrer_

Give me a mouse, keyboard, gamepad/steering wheel/joystick and a 26" screen and I might be interested!

Vodoo
Vodoo

Mobile games also sell for prices ranging from: Free (full complete games, not freemium), $.99 up to $7. If you come across a good game, not even great, but good... whose not gonna buy it for $.99? So if mobile capabilities are almost up to consoles, why is it that mobile games can sell for a few dollars and console games are at a whopping $60?!! It's also more work to get Android games working on so many different devices, yet the majority of them are only a dollar. So there's no excuse why console games can't be cheaper. Sell them for $30-$40,especially at the end of a console generation, and I'm sure you'll sell alot more!

Ovirew
Ovirew

Sad how game developers are trying to shove these crappy IPad games down our throats.  Can't they see most of us enjoy normal console games?

kisado87
kisado87

 @Gamelander I'm not sure if their aiming at the audience you're talking about. And I agree with you, most of us will stick to a PC or a console - but the guy who sits on a bus fiddling with his phone (who probably doesn't really play video games), will probably pick up mobile games. The problem is, these guys are never serious and it's not exactly something that will rake in loads of cash in the long run.

WillyChong
WillyChong

 @Cruisemissile That's the good thing, if the upcoming Iphone 5 is 800$ it needs to transform an airplane if in airplane mode, and makes everyone around you silence in silent mode. There are over thousands of smartphones on the market and each fight with tooth and nails to get people to buy. And offering a lot more stuff in hardware and software while cutting the price tags, I don't know but I find playing racing game on Iphone 3gs with a friend is a lot more fun than on Xbox 360, cause he can sit next to you while both you can't see each other screen(maybe you will) while steering the car using the phone's gyroscope, All my Ipad dudes ditch consoles when they gotten their Ipad, sad but this is how modern society is. 

scraping101
scraping101

suppose even though I'm an apple fanboy, that I will lose out if apple does become a console maker because I have no interest in gamecenter achievements over my trophy collection. I don't want to change my fictitious award system for another, hence the reason my Xbox is for my kids to play kinect, and I refuse to play my games on it.) I'm a trophy whorie.! Go nerds!

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

 @buccomatic WOW that is interesting.  I know MS needs to do something dramatic and big as their BASE Windows is selling a lot less. Microsoft is vastly less relevant or needed.  Microsoft is fighting on too many fronts.  Sure there are those who still cling to Microsoft but is it enough to keep Microsoft going?

 

Google, Apple, Linux are 3 of Microsoft's biggest competitors. In addition there are plenty of medium sized competitors that would love to see Microsoft fail and disappear.  

 

Microsoft is fighting just to stay relevant.  Xbox is the one thing that is keeping its name fresh with younger people.  Yet only in a limited way. Zune and Windows phones have shown that Microsoft can't JUST relay on its name recognition alone.  

 

I wonder if they will really try to focus on an ALL IN ONE gadget and if that fails then what?  If it successful how will this effect other companies that WERE thinking of making a windows phone or Windows PC? 

WillyChong
WillyChong

 @DaClatso Hardcore gamer....... any guy who are skilled at a game, no matter which genre, platform or ports are hardcore gamer, you can be skilled at PC Battlefield 3 or Iphone Infinity Blade, and still you are a hardcore gamer. 

 

Arguement invalid, next!

TheSorrow66666
TheSorrow66666

 @EzcapeTheFate

 i dont have time to mobile game. im at work doing my job and then i go home. i have no need for tablets

dre256x
dre256x

 @Ovirew We have ourselves to blame really... Keep extending console life cycle (and holding back progress) for the sake of making a profit.. pfft

WillyChong
WillyChong

 @kisado87  @Gamelander I don't know, but mobile games are cheap and major company like Square Enix and Rockstar are making mobile gaming possible with GTA III, Max Payne and even an original Chaos Ring(an FF based RPG), some are truly impressive and at the 1/4 the cost of major games, a lot of friends like games like Real Racing simple because everyone has an Iphone and start playing while having a break at lunch, its more convenient to play mobile gaming and when girls arrive, we can close it easily without having to hide our psp and make them think us as gaming nerds. 

 

Lets face it, the common Malaysia society still reject us gamers no matter how you play a console,  cool or gentlemanly. Cause girls hate such devices and ditch us for being childish in their mind, I can't play a psp when my girl friend is going to see me, and I can show off my Iphone and share apps together. I don't know but this sort of mentality is what people view Malaysia gamers, they accept facebook games but never ever accept a game like Starcraft. T-T I feel so sad to say this out loud.....

DrHyde
DrHyde

 @buccomatic Yes, that may be. However, that still doesn't address the issues that I mentioned. Right now we just started getting 32nm in mobile processors and 22 nm in desktop processors. We're not slated to hit 5 nm and below for at least a decade. While this reduction will result in longer battery life and less heat, that still doesn't resolve battery technology.

 

I've heard of using bacteria, graphene, and a liquid metal battery technology in the future, but there's no set date. As is, I can use my MHL connection to my TV and bluetooth my PS3 controller to my Galaxy Nexus and play Grand Theft Auto 3, I just don't.

 

Also, remember. As the capability of mobile devices grows with more advanced GPUs, the cost of developing games grows higher. It may sound cool and futuristic since I've seen you swooning over it through the course of discussions here, but in the end, it won't be practical. There far more to replacing PC/Console than just the two things I mentioned. Mine are just the most prominent to overcome. You'll then run into the economics, DRM, storage contraints and technology, and long term support in an ever advancing cutthroat industry.

WillyChong
WillyChong

 @scraping101 I don't know but I will 100% sell off my Kinect for the upcoming Iphone5, cause although Kinect is intesting and all, my cousins and nephew hate it, they prefer a game controller and not doing stupid stuff like I did on the Kinect, anyone interested, I sell second hand at RM400 (USD99), no scratches, no physical contact as it is in plastic covered and the box suffer only minor dent. :D Brand new on the hardware and only used for 3 months.

Scholar_Of_Time
Scholar_Of_Time

 @buccomatic I'd like to say no...stuff that's really too powerful for this generation usually tends to get buried in dirt...

 

Remember the 3DO and the attempts Sega made on the Genesis to increase it's longevity? Sega CD and 32X were technically more powerful than the SNES, but their libraries were crisp thin and many of it's games aren't that good anyway.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

 @buccomatic Your so wrap up in mobile devices.. You truly believe that there end all be all.. 

Gamelander
Gamelander

 @WillyChong   First, to WillyChong, you do have a certain point, but it's not entirely valid. For now, and the near future, the mobile won't compete with console and PC for any core gamer. Yes, they work and they have good games for cheap, but they don't have core games with high budgeting and mass marketing like the AAA games on PC and console. This is not to say that you need to have a high budget, but look at the games you mentioned and how most core gamers would view it, probably as a good pastime/mobile games, nothing like CoD or FPS games, or TES games and new RPG games (The Witcher 2 is a great example). Lastly, what's going on in Malaysia is a psychological thing, believe me; they don't see Facebook and mobile apps as actual video games, that's why they accept them (think about it).@buccomatic (Before you start reading this, take into account what I wrote above) What your saying about marketers and analysts is true, and as a business major, I can tell you that they have been wrong with so many things so many times. They also don't have true insight on the gaming world like gaming analysts and actual interested parties, like yourself and I. Gaming is a risky business and it constantly changes with time, and only time will really tell, but I can assure you, this isn't the definite truth about gaming, not now and not soon either.At any rate, thank you for the replies; I hope my late one still offers some value to this conversation.

 

Thank you.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

 @buccomatic "pc will become irrelevant."

PC's will still be around, because I don't see developers making their games with an ipad...

However I do agree there will be pleanty of people using tablets, but that's when they just become compact PC's with all the ports... It'll be like a laptop you can take apart, lol.

EzcapeTheFate
EzcapeTheFate

 @TheSorrow66666 Im just fucking with you. I own a 360 and enjoy playing at home on my monster flat screen tv watching from my lazy boy with a cooler next me filled with ice cold brews.

TheSorrow66666
TheSorrow66666

 @EzcapeTheFate

 at that point i will stick with old games than. i dont have the time nor interest to play on 16 inch mobile.  thats not fun for me. to each thier own. it will work for some but not all

EzcapeTheFate
EzcapeTheFate

 @TheSorrow66666 Tablets are the future. Soon there wont be any consoles to buy because all game companys will abandend them for tablets.

TheSorrow66666
TheSorrow66666

 @EzcapeTheFate

 i understand its a good thing for some and im happy for them. alot of people love to game on the go. but thats just not for me. so for me as a consumer personally i have no interest in it until they solve problems like controls hooking to tvs, etc. at the point that it works like a console now i might look into it. but i dont have alot of time when im out and about to mobile game so it doesnt really help me more so than pc and consoles do now.

TheSorrow66666
TheSorrow66666

 @EzcapeTheFate

 so whats the point? if it sits at home hooked up its a console. so they are saying we are making another console? cool i guess but its whatever. long as i like the games i buy that console. but im not playing games on a 16 inch screen. i bought a 600 tv for a reason